Library & Archives

The James & Marilynn Alcott Library

The Alcott Library houses over 2,700 artists’ books, reference books, periodicals, prints and broadsides, over a quarter of which represents Minnesota history, art, and culture. The Alcott Library plays an essential role in carryout MCBA’s vision statement, which envisions a world where book art is created, cultivated, celebrated, and understood as a vital and lasting expression of culture.

There is no other repository in Minnesota that preserves works specifically created by the Minnesota book arts community, and covers the depth and breadth of book art, than the Alcott Library. For over 31 years, the library has served as an archive of all artwork created through MCBA’s many artistic programs, including the annual fine press publication, Winter Book, which features Minnesota book artists, writers, and illustrators, and its related process materials.

 

The S. Helmes & W. Gaglione Stamp Archive

MCBA is proud to announce the establishment of the world’s most comprehensive working rubber stamp archive. By uniting the extensive private collections of Scott Helmes and William “Picasso” Gaglione under one roof, the H/G Archive is one of the largest repositories of rubber stamps and stamp-related materials in the world. Comprised of hundreds of commercial and one-of-a-kind boxed sets and over 70,000 individual stamps spanning a period of 120 years, the H/G Archive is both comprehensive and incredibly diverse. In addition to physical stamps, the collection includes original stamp art, artists’ books, limited edition publications, journals, catalogs, reference materials, correspondence art, assemblings, design specifications, posters, and production materials.

The mission of the H/G Archive is to preserve historical, rare and unique tools of artistic expression while maintaining their accessibility to artists wishing to incorporate them into their creative practice. It is a living archive where use by artists and researchers is encouraged.

An exhibition in the Cowles Literary Commons presents just a few examples of the H/G Archive’s holdings. It offers a rudimentary history primer and demonstrates rubber stamp use by contemporary artists. From Dada and Fluxus practitioners to concrete poets and correspondence artists, rubber stamps facilitate creativity through their inherent immediacy and operative flexibility. They allow artists to simultaneously reference and critique a range of topics from banal day-to-day life to long established social institutions.

The S. Helmes and W. Gaglione Rubber Stamp Archive will officially open to the public in mid-2017 after initial documentation and cataloging has been completed. At that time it will begin fulfilling its mission by providing unique resources for art-making to emerging and established artists; serving as an educational collection that demonstrates history and social change; supporting future exhibitions and workshops; preserving and maintaining a traditional creative practices; and enhancing Minnesota Center for Book Art’s programming.